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LST: Plenty small-moderate SW to SSW events along with several West to WNW episodes from West Pac Typhoons…

GO DEEPER…the upcoming 10-14 days

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SNN BIG PICTURE: Monday 8/5/19 



JETSTREAM: The Jet is following the summertime pattern: weak, dispersed. There’s an upper-level spinner North of Kauai adding the wet weather mix along with Trop. Depression, Flossie tracking up the Windward coasts of the chain. So, it’s a total shut down for now in the surf production department until we see out of season 140kt energy off the Kurils by Friday. This allows for a surface Low to spawn and spin centered just off Kamchatka Fri-into the weekend. A tiny NW is not likely (read below).

Jetstream: Large scale ‘river of wind’ about 30-35,000ft in our upper atmosphere flowing west to east circling earth in both Hemispheres. It has major impacts on climate, weather, and airmass (Lows and Highs) which help form and steer storms that bring our waves.

Recent-Current: It’s flat to isolated 1/2’ from the Flossie swell; no change in sight till next work week when isolated reefs hit 2’ maybe near 3’ that are better exposed to pure West swell.

Next and last: We’re not going to get swell from Typhoon Lekima as it’s nearing Japan and tracking toward China but a pair of more super-sized Typhoons are popping up on the models near the PI that we’ll need to keep an eye on for the last one for the slight chance of a functional ‘recurve’ toward the Islands. This is too far to claim but just a slight chance at this point.

Right now, ww3 wants the new storm classified as ‘11W’ to send us a straight West swell of 2’ 14sec or 3’ surf around Wed. the 14th. This Typhoon is expected to build to be is HUGE (45’ seas) and Forerunners come Tuesday with 2’ sets… This one comes in well below Ni’ihau and Kauai so all West oriented shores will feel this one including South shores.

Long-range:  Nothing on the charts TFN.


The Jet’s zonal Northern Branch is by far the strongest of the two. The southern branch is weak but there’s some NNE flow hugging the New Z coast right now. By Friday-weekend the North Branch is fat and 180 to over 200kts above the Taz. So most of our action is coming from this zone. By Sunday the 11th, we see a meridional flow point right up at New Z. So there’s plenty swell on the way but nothing even near advisory levels just fun consistent SW to SSW beyond mid-August.

Recent-CurrentThe current fun SW is slowly on its way out from it’s Sunday-Monday peak. But we did see some head high surf at 15seconds. A nice batch of 45kts pointed up into the Taz by Monday the 29th. There was more fetch pockets further South of New Z so we did see slight reinforcement today with 18-sec forerunners; we should hold up to Chest high at least.

Next: There was more wide long fetch deep in the Taz Thursday-Saturday the 1st-3rd. Some even points just up the NZL East Coast. We’ll hope for some 14 sec SSW Friday-Sunday (9-11th) up to 3’ or head high.

Last: The same storm morphed across NZL and squeezes the coast with a super long fetch into Monday the 5th. Ww3 wants 2-4+’ on Monday-Tuesday the 12-13th but this may be more than we’ll likely get based on viewing the storm’s size and proximity to NZL. For sure tho’ some bigger swell than we’ve had in a while and this may not be the only one.

Long-range: Heads up for the chance of overhead SW to SSW Tuesday-Wed the 21-22nd from an extra-large Low tracking up the Taz and possibly toward the east NZL coast.

Long-range views are seldom 20/20.

Windward: Makapu’u  

Recent/current: We saw 6’ East Flossie surf last Sunday midday…it ramped and dropped fast. It was just 3’ maybe plus’ Monday. Some reinforcement to 4′ Tuesday as the Tropical Depression hugs our windward shores and moves up the coast. Isolated 3-5’ for top moments and spots and this will ramp and drop fast too thanks to the proximity and track.  High Surf Adv are in place. Watch for average surf by Wednesday and even smaller late this workweek.

TROPICS: There’s plenty action in the West Pac. ‘11W’ near the Philippines is the one we think will produce some West for us next week. It’s expected to strengthen into a major Typhoon. We’ll keep you posted on any updates…of which there will certainly be several.

On SNN: spectral graphs are helpful when the text output doesn’t yet show the slivers of super long periods as early. or GO HERE



On SNN: spectral graphs are helpful when the text output doesn’t yet show the slivers of super long periods as early. or GO HERE

NEW UPDATE: A transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is expected in the next month or two, with ENSO-neutral most likely to continue through Northern Hemisphere fall and winter. ENSO-neutral conditions occur when neither El Niño or La Niña conditions are present.

ENSO refers to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, which is a climate pattern that looks at the sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific and its interaction with the atmosphere.

El Niño conditions occur when average sea-surface temperatures in a region of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific are at least 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than average than the previous month and last or are expected to last, for three consecutive months.


Surf Climatology HERE

NWS criteria for High Surf Advisories (first number) & Warnings (second number).

All surf height observations & forecasts are for full ‘face’ surf height, or ‘trough to the crest’ of the wave.

North-Facing Shores 15 Feet and 25 Feet

West-Facing Shores – Remaining Islands 12 Feet and 20 Feet

West-Facing Shores – Big Island 8 Feet and 12 Feet

South-Facing Shores 8 Feet and 15 Feet

East-Facing Shores 8 Feet and 15 Feet

Get the latest Central Pac Hawaii HERE

Terms: Eg. The split Jetstream is why all the Gulf and Alaskan storms are sending North swells. There’s that strong, persistent blocking ridge west of the dateline bumped the Jet up and over into the Bering Sea most November.

Note: The spectral density graph in the SNN Buoy Page (link below) shows slivers of forerunners that initial text readings do not ‘show’ till later on written buoy updates. Also, note the vertical graph is not ‘wave height’ rather its a measure of wave energy in hertz (frequency or cycles/sec) for the whole ‘band’ (the distribution of power/period in the total wave energy field/spectrum).

For SNN’s Buoys ‘per shore’ arrangement pls GO HERE

Links: Get the latest on the tropics at

For more on the Westpac Typhoons GO HERE

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center outlook for the 2017 Central Pacific Hurricane Season calls for 5 to 8 tropical cyclones to either develop or cross into the Central Pacific with a 40% chance for an above-normal season, a 40% chance for a normal season, and a 20% chance for a below-normal season. An average season has 4 to 5 tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

Tropical depression forms when a low-pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce a circular wind flow with maximum sustained winds below 39 mph. An upgrade to a tropical storm occurs when cyclonic circulation becomes more organized and maximum sustained winds gust between 39 mph and 73 mph. A tropical storm is then upgraded to Category 1 hurricane status as maximum sustained winds increase to between 74 mph and 95 mph. (The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 156 mph).

Tropical cyclones go by many names around the world, and the terminology can get confusing. Once a tropical cyclone strengthens to the point where it has gale-force winds—39 mph or greater—it becomes a tropical storm. A storm that reaches tropical storm strength usually gets its own name to help us quickly identify it in forecasts and warnings. Once a tropical storm begins producing sustained winds of around 75 mph, we call the storm a typhoon in the western Pacific near Asia and a hurricane in the oceans on either side of North America. A “typhoon” and a “hurricane” are the same kind of storm, they just go by different names…it’s only a matter of geography.

Shoaling is the effect by which surface waves entering shallower water change in wave height (or grow) due to speed change (or slow down). Wavelength is reduced when going from deeper to shallower. The ‘energy flux’ must remain constant (nature’s liquid law) so the reduction in wave group (transport) speed is compensated by an increase in wave height (and thus wave energy density). Yeah, I know…waves are complex AND amazing.
Refraction is the change in direction of waves that occurs when waves travel from one medium to another or depth change. Refraction is always accompanied by a wavelength & speed change. Diffraction is the bending & spreading of waves around obstacles (‘reefs’ and openings).

High Surf Advisories & Warnings NWS criteria below in coordination with Hawai’i civil defense agencies & water safety organizations.

All surf height observations & forecasts are for the full face surf height, from the trough to the crest of the wave.

Advisory and Warning Criteria
Location Advisory Warning
North-Facing Shores 15 Feet 25 Feet
West-Facing Shores – Big Island 8 Feet 12 Feet
West-Facing Shores – Remaining Islands 12 Feet 20 Feet
South-Facing Shores 8 Feet 15 Feet
East-Facing Shores 8 Feet 15 Feet

‘Travel Time’ Buoy 51101 to Waimea Buoy
Distance: 269 nautical miles (~310 miles)
Angle: 307 deg

Wave   Wave        Wave   Depth      Wave Direction (deg)———-

Period  Length      Speed  Shallow   295,  305,  315,  325,  335,  345,  355

(s)       (ft)    (nm/h)  (ft)                  Travel Time (hours)———-

10sec. 512.  15.        256.                   17.3, 17.7, 17.6, 16.9,  15.7,   14.0,   11.9

12sec. 737.  18.        369.                  14.5,  14.8, 14.6, 14.0, 13.0,  11.6,  9.9

14sec. 1003. 21.      502.                  12.4,  12.7, 12.5,  12.0,  11.2, 10.0,  8.5

16sec. 1310. 24.      655.                  10.8, ,1 1.1,  11.0,  10.5,   9.8,   8.7,  7.4

18sec. 1658. 27.     829.                   9.6,    9.8,     9.8,   9.4,   8.7,   7.8,  6.6

20sec. 2047. 30.    1024.                8.7     8.9      8.8     8.4    7.8    7.0   5.9

22sec. 2477. 33.    1239.                 7.9     8.1       8.0     7.7    7.1     6.3   5.4

24sec. 2948. 36.    1474.                7.2      7.4      7.3     7.0   6.5     5.8    4.9

Tropical Storm – winds 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)

Category 1 – winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
Category 2 – winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Category 3 – winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Category 4 – winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
Category 5 – winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt)

Please visit the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website at for the most recent bulletins.

ENSO (The El Niño-Southern Oscillation) is a single naturally occurring climate phenomenon in three states or phases. These involve fluctuating ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. … When temperatures in the ENSO region of the Pacific are near average it is known as ENSO ‘neutral’, meaning that the oscillation is neither in a warm or cool phase.The two opposite phases, “El Niño”(warmer than average) and “La Niña”(cooler than average) require certain changes in both the ocean and the atmosphere because ENSO is a coupled climate phenomenon.  “Neutral” is in the middle of the continuum. The MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) is an eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rainfall, winds, and pressure that traverse the planet in the tropics and returns to its initial starting point in 30 to 60 days, on average, unlike ENSO which is stationary. In a nutshell, a more active ENSO means more surf.

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